Joshua Santospirito is a graphic novelist, an artist, a musician and a writer who lives in Hobart, Tasmania. He enjoys sitting on his couch and avoiding making art, music or writing.
Josh grew up in suburban Melbourne, has also lived in Sydney, Alice Springs. He has worked in mental health as a nurse for over a decade in Central Australian Aboriginal communities and in Hobart. His writing and art is often concerned with place and identity and other interesting things like that. In 2013 he started San Kessto Publications together with Nadine Kessler. He is the creator and co-Directeur of Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival – an annual comics and illustrator’s festival in Hobart, Tasmania.
Josh’s short comics have been published in several magazines such as Meanjin and Island. His first graphic novel, The Long Weekend in Alice Springs was published in 2013. It was awarded the Chief Minister’s Northern Territory Read Non Fiction Book Award, the ComicOz Award for 2013 and was shortlisted at the 2014 Ledger Awards. In 2015 Swallows Part One was published, a graphic novel investigating his family history since migrating to Australia from Italy. Swallows was also shortlisted for a Ledger Award and was reviewed on Radio National. He is also the curator of Down There, a series of comics by Tasmanian artists, a side project of San Kessto.
Music and Sound Art
Santospirito has performed strange and beautiful music since 2005 under the name Drive West Today. This has included playing at various Australian festivals, including MONA FOMA, Dark MOFO, Wide Open Space, the Forest Festival and played concerts all over Australia. DWT has also had three European tours – travelling to Berlin (2008, 2012), Switzerland and Spain (2012) and Finland/Turkey in 2014.
Josh has been active in promoting the experimental music scene in Australia and hosted a radio show focusing on experimental and innovative music on Edge Radio called The Musical Dissidents for 2 years, and he has also been involved in organising and curating Sound Art and experimental music events through Sound Klub in Hobart.
Media, reviews and interesting links
2015 – SBS Radio interview about Swallows with Magica Fosati
2015 – Carlton Football Club Website article about Swallows
2014 The Space Between Us, by Kieran Finnane
2014 Sawtooth Review article on Sleuth: The Delegation
2014 The fertile space between us, by Kieran Finnane – Nov 2014
2014 Beautiful review of Fluid Prejudice in the Lifted Brow by Leonie Brialey
2014 NT Read Non-Fiction Book Award, May 2014
2014 Kieran Finnane writes on What I’m Reading for the Meanjin blog
2014 ComicOz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2013
2014 David Nixon’s post on ABC Open
2013 Jonathon Shaw’s review
2013 Charlie Ward’s blog review – “The Long Weekend”
2013 Australian Newspaper Review Magazine major review of “The Long Weekend”
2013 Readings Bookstore – review of “The Long Weekend”
2013 ComicOz review of “The Long Weekend”
2013 Review from the Alice Springs News of “The Long Weekend”
2013 Alice Online article about “The Long Weekend”
2013 Podcast from the Comic Spot – interview with Josh Santospirito
2012 Framed Magazine interview about “The Long Weekend”
2016, July-Oct – Swallows, Immigration Museum Victoria
2016, April – Sleuth: The Pulse, at Visual Bulk, Hobart.
2015, December – Swallows, Tasmanian Writer Centre
2015, October – Swallows, Museo Italiano, Carlton, (Victoria)
2015, April – Sleuth: the Delegation, Tuggarenong Arts Centre (ACT)
2014, August – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs. Santospirito and San Roque present the original art from the graphic novel, Top Gallery (Hobart)
2014, April – Sleuth: the Delegation, Sawtooth ARI, (Launceston)
2013, May – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs. Santospirito and San Roque present the original art of Josh’s at Watch This Space (Alice Springs, NT).
2012, November – Sleuth: The Origin – Inflight Art Gallery (Hobart, Tas). Comprising numerous series of comics intersecting across the walls of the Paddy Lyn memorial space detailing an animistic reinvigoration of the Australian landscape.
Select Group Exhibitions
2012, April Its my party and I’ll die how I want to, social engagement artwork with Sara Wright, Nadine Kessler, Dr Bruce Wilson at MoMa.
2010, December – Dog, with Dan Murphy and Craig San Roque at Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs as part of Watching this place organised by Watch This Space Artist Run Initiative.
2008, December – Respond with Nadine Kessler as part of the Container Project, Taste Festival Tasmania, organised by 6a and Inflight ARI.
Awards / Grants / Major Reviews
2013 – Assistance to Individuals Grant ($2000) from Arts Tasmania
2013 – Major review in The Australian Newspaper Review Magazine
2014 – ComicOz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2013 – for The Long Weekend in Alice Springs
2014 – NT Read Non Fiction Book Award ($2000) – for The Long Weekend in Alice Springs
2015 – Crowbar grant ($2000) from Arts Tas for “Swallows”
2015 – Accepted to attend the Comic Art Workshop on Maria Island
2016 – Swallows shortlisted for Ledger Awards
2016 – Swallows reviewed on Radio National Arts and Books show
Festivals – Writing, sound-art, music and visual art
2009-10, 2013 – Wide Open Space
2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 – MONA FOMA
2012 – Forest Festival
2013, 2015 – Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival
2013 – Dark MOFO
2014, 2015, 2016 – Directeur of Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival
2014 – Wordstorm, NT Writers Festival, Darwin
2015 – Digital Writers Festival
2015 – Melbourne Writers Festival
2015 – Eye of the Storm, NT Writers festival, Alice Springs
Selected Publication History
* The Long Weekend in Alice Springs (Sankessto Publications, 2013)
* Fluid Prejudice – contributor, (Glass Flag Press, 2014)
* Oi Oi Oi #1 (ComicOz, 2014)
* Island Magazine #137 2014
* Meanjin September 2014
* Swallows Part One – a graphic novella (San Kessto Publications 2015)
* Yankunytjatjara Wangka Project – 20 childrens readers produced by the Mimili School in conjunction with UniSA and Mimili Maku Arts Centre.
Albums released under the project name of Drive West Today.
- 2003 – the child & the tractor
- 2004 – The balloon
- 2005 – feather
- 2006 – Is this a desert? (reviewed in Cyclic Defrost Magazine)
- 2011 – A shitload less understanding than what is required
- 2012 – Acousmatic Ecology part 1 – a query
- 2012 – pardon? Acousmatic Ecology part 2
A non-exhaustive list of other fellow artists that I reckon are worth their spit
Chris Downes, Pat Grant, Bernard Caleo, Mandy Ord, Rachel Tribout, Andrew Fulton, Sam Wallman, Trent Jansen, Matt Warren, Nadine Kessler, Tom O’Hern, Elliat Rich, Beth Sometimes, Jennifer Mills, Tricky Walsh, Caroline Anderson, Alex Kershaw.